Home Security

Over the summer, many neighborhood residents have experienced burglaries of their homes. It is a very frightening experience. Some residents have been gone, while others have been sleeping in another room. The burglar is taking your property and selling it for cash – much less than you paid for it. Many of those purchasing your property are good citizens wanting a good deal. They find these “good deals” on the streets and on line.

Over 95% of this summer’s burglaries could have been easily prevented by securely locking and pinning the windows in place. Most burglars walk through the neighborhood and look for windows that are open and, often, covered with only a screen. The burglar knows that a screen is not secure and can be removed or slit in minutes. Many windows behind the screen are unlocked and can be pushed up quickly. Address this problem by checking your windows regularly to make certain they are locked. Fix any window locks that are broken.

There are times that we want the windows open in order to get fresh air. In order to have the windows open for air, simply pin the window in place at a closed or safe opened position. When you are gone or sleeping, we suggest that the window be pinned for a 6 inch opening. Window pins will prevent a burglar from prying open your window lock. Pinning is cheap, effective, and recommended by home security experts world-wide. Window pinning forces the burglar to break the window and then find the pin (bolt) and remove it. This takes too much time, makes noise, and increases the risks to the intruder.

Below are instructions to pin your double hung windows (wood sashes).

  1.  Measure the thickness of the lower sash and add one-half to three quarters of an inch to that measurement.
  2. Mark a 5/16 inch drill bit so you will know when you have drilled a hole as deep as the total measurement.
  3. Drill a hole in the window at the point indicated by point #1 in the diagram.  This hole will enable you to pin the window in the closed position.
  4. Open the window four to six inches, insert the drill bit in the same hole that you drilled in the lower sash and drill the one-half inch hole in the upper sash as indicated by point #2 in the diagram.  This hole will enable you to “pin” the window in the open position for ventilation purposes.
  5. Buy hinge pins or hex-head bolts * that are one-quarter inch in diameter and the length of your total measurement (about 3 to 3 ½ inches long).
  6. Insert a bolt in the hole in each window of your home.  Some suggest you pin on both sides of your window.
  7. Test the bolts to see if they slide in and out so the window can be opened, closed and pinned easily.  Test also to see that with a little jiggling of the window frame, the bolts don’t work loose.  This can happen when the holes drilled are much larger than the pin used, or when the hole is not drilled at a downward angle.*Or you can purchase pins designed especially for this purpose at most hardware stores.
    The same technique can be used to secure many types of sliding doors and sliding windows.

Your Home Security


1.      -Does door have 180 degree peep hole?

2.      -Are locks that can be opened from inside at least 40 inches from glass?

3.      -Are entrance doors solid core?

4.      -Do they have deadbolt locks?

5.      -If hinge pins are outside are they non-removable?

6.      -Does door securely fit doorjamb?

7.      -Is doorjamb tightly fastened?

8.      -Is strike plate securely fastened to doorjamb?

9.      -Does bolt extend sufficiently into strike plate?

10.  -Is your deadbolt throw 1 inch to 1 ½ inches long and made of hardened steel?

11.  -Have locks been re-keyed since you moved in?


12.  -Have double hung windows been pinned?

13.  -Do metal/vinyl windows have auxiliary locks?

14.  -Can windows left open for ventilation be secured?

15.  -Do basement windows have auxiliary locks?

16.  -Do curtains or drapes fully cover windows?

17.  -Is window air conditioner strongly secured from inside?


18.  -Does door close tightly?

19.  -Does overhead door have a track padlock?

20.  -Is padlock of high quality?

21.  -Is hasp of high quality, installed without screws showing?

22.  -Do you keep overhead door closed and locked when not in use?

23.  -Do you remove vehicle keys and valuables when garage is locked?

24.  -Are your garage windows covered and secured?

25.  -Does your back house door enter your garage?  Is it secured with a deadbolt lock?


26. -Do you belong to a NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH program?

27.  -Are shrubs cut below window level?

28.  -Are tree limbs cut above window level?

29.  -Is residence number visible from street?

30.  -Is residence number visible at night?

31.  -Is the front door well lit?

32.  -Is the back yard well lit?

33.  -Are bicycles, mowers, ladders kept inside?

34.  -Have you engraved property and put up stickers?  Have you taken pictures of your valuables?  Have you written down the model and serial numbers of your valuables?


35. -Do you stop deliveries?

36.  -Do you leave shades and blinds in normal position?

37.  -Do you notify trusted neighbors?

38.  -Do you set light timers?

39.  -Is your yard taken care of?

40.  -Do you arrange for trash papers to be picked up by someone?


41.  -Do you always leave some lights on in your house at night?  On timers?

42.  -If you own guns, are they kept secured?

43.  -Do you keep most of your cash in the bank?

44.  -Do you keep a list of all valuable property, credit cards and serial numbers?

45.  -Do you keep this list in a safe place?

46.  -Do you avoid displaying valuables to strangers – can they see property through the window?

47.  -Do you know the number of the police department?

48. -Have you purchased renter’s insurance?

49.  -Do you have a secured safe room or closet to secure your electronics when you are gone from the home?


If you have questions, please call your Neighborhood Association or the Crime Prevention Unit of the Grand Rapids Police Department (456-3363 or 456-4179).  The Neighborhood Association staff or the Grand Rapids Crime Prevention Unit can assist you with a free Home Security Survey at your home.  Call to set up an appointment.

Additional Resources